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Scrutinizing Seashells

Circumstances Faith God's Will

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-04-18

Scripture: Romans 11:33

Author: Mitchell Dillon
5

ILLUSTRATION

My two-year-old granddaughter watched with great interest as her big sister and I hunted for seashells during a family day at the beach. When she asked if she could try, I plopped her down on a pile of shells and she went right to work. Immediately, without any instructions or coaching, she held up one seashell at a time and scrutinized it. Those that passed her inspection went into the bucket but those that didn't were tossed over her shoulder. I marveled over her decisiveness and I wondered what possible criteria does a two-year-old use to discern the worthiness of one shell over another.

So, I stole a peek at her booty. There were a number of perfect shells in her bucket but there were far more defective shells; shells with holes in them; shells that had been worn by the surf; shells that were chipped and broken; shells that would never have made it into my bucket. There didn't appear to be a rhyme or a reason for what made it into my granddaughter's bucket. Rather, the collection seemed to be random. Like someone had just scooped them up and dumped them in there.

APPLICATION

If the ways of a two-year-old are mysterious, how much more are the ways of God?

Have you ever looked into the bucket of things that make up your life and wondered, "How'd that get in there?" Are there things in your life that you would have never selected for yourself? Does your life ever feel random to you, with no rhyme or reason to it? Like someone just scooped them up and dumped them in there?

But that isn't at all the case. Every shell in your bucket has been handpicked; every shell has been scrutinized; every shell has passed God's inspection. All the details of your life, your circumstances and the people you know have passed the mysterious criteria of the Eternal One, of God Himself.

Who can possibly begin to see what God sees, or judge things by His criteria? No, ours is not to understand what God places in our bucket. Ours is to trust that each shell has been placed there with some purpose.

If you can't understand the mind of a two-year-old, how do you expect to understand the mind of God?

"Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!" (Romans 11:33, NLT).

Praying In The Wrong Direction

Prayer Perseverance God's Will

Source: "Imam discovers worshippers at his mosque in Turkey have been praying in the wrong direction for 37 YEARS," by Ross Ibbetson, The Daily Mail, Oct. 19, 2018

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-12-31

Scripture: Matthew 7:7 ; 1 John 5:14

Author: Illustration Exchange
11

ILLUSTRATION

The Daily Mail reports that worshipers at a mosque in Turkey have been praying in the wrong direction for 37 YEARS! According to one news outlet, the mosque was built facing the wrong direction in 1981. 

To make matters worse, it is believed that this was the result of it being built based on the original mosque, which would mean that these worshipers have not been praying in the direction of Mecca, as prescribed, even longer than previously thought. 

 

 

APPLICATION

As Christians, we understand that it doesn't really matter what direction we face when we pray.  God is everywhere. Rather, it's our earnest determination to seek God and to know His will that Jesus promised to bless when He said, "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7). 

We pray in the wrong direction when we pray for the wrong things, or when we pray for the right things but with the wrong motives. We pray in the wrong direction whenever we seek our will instead of God's.  

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14).

Prayer Changes Me

Prayer Acceptance God's Will

Source: Bruce Almighty

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Glenn Newton | Date Posted: 2017-06-03

Scripture: Matthew 26:37 ; Matthew 26:46

Author: Glenn Newton
6

ILLUSTRATION

In the 2003 movie Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey portrays a television reporter named Bruce Nolan. Bruce is a man who constantly complains about God. At one point he complains that, “God is a mean kid sitting on an anthill with a magnifying glass, and I'm the ant. He could fix my life in five minutes if He wanted to, but He'd rather burn off my feelers and watch me squirm.”

God (played by Morgan Freeman) confronts Bruce and says, “You've been doing a lot of complaining about me, Bruce. Quite frankly, I'm tired of it.” To prove to Bruce that He knows what He’s doing, God offers to let Bruce try to run the world in His place. Feeling confident he is up to the task, Bruce excitedly accepts. He soon realizes, however, the enormity and complexity of God’s work, particularly in answering prayers. In one scene, Bruce is so overwhelmed at the amount of prayers he has to answer, that he has them all put into a database and answers “Yes” to every one. As a result, over 400,000 people get the winning lottery numbers, but they only win $17.00 each. 

APPLICATION

Intellectually we all understand that God cannot say yes to every request we bring before Him, but I imagine many of us have wondered why he doesn’t say yes more often. We have difficulty understanding why some people seem to have their prayers answered, but when we pray for the same thing, heaven seems silent. We wonder, “Does prayer really change things?” Yes, it most certainly does! But it might not always bring the change we are expecting.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Jesus' initial request was not granted but the ultimate desire of His heart was. God's will was done. And His own heart was prepared for what would follow because He submitting Himself to God's will ahead of time. He went from "deeply sorrowful" to accepting of His circumstances. God cannot say yes to every request, but desiring His will before our own changes the most important thing ... us!

Man Digs Hole In The Jungle For God

God's Will Obedience Calling

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-02-17

Scripture: Colossians 3:23

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Where Was God In The Paris Attacks?

Apologetics God's Will Free Will

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-12-14

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12 ; Romans 2:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Everything Means Something

Apologetics Meaning of Life God's Will

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-11-09

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Honoring The Lord's Name

Prophecy God's Will God's Name

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2014-07-25

Scripture: Exodus 20:7 ; 2 Peter 1:20

Author: Stephen Kingsley
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I Won Because I Lost

Prayer God's Will Destiny

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-07-05

Author: Illustration Exchange
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What You'll Find At The Top

Meaning of Life God's Will Fulfillment

Contributed By: Erik Estep | Date Posted: 2014-05-26

Scripture: Psalms 119:35

Author: Good News Publishers/Illustration Exchange
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Six Again

Word of God Obedience God's Will

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-05-15

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:15

Author: Chuck Swindoll/Illustration Exchange
15

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